THERE had been much conjecture surrounding the return of Jason Banton to Argyle – but few people had the word ‘permanent’ at the forefront of their minds when speculating on the subject.After his successful loan spell last season, in which he made a sizable contribution to help the Pilgrims remain a Football League club, getting Jason back in the green and white was a dream for many.
When he joined Milton Keynes Dons at the start of this campaign, after at least one overture from PL2 to prompt a return, all hope seemed to be lost.
As the flicker returned, though, and his name and Plymouth Argyle started to be uttered in adjacent terms, even then the idea of him being a permanent Pilgrim arose in few minds.
“Originally it was meant to be a loan,” Jason explained, visibly beaming at being back at Home Park, “but [Palace manager Tony] Pulis, and this is no disrespect, said some of the young ones in the squad, about 21 to 24, are not in his plans - so as long as someone was interested in taking us on a permanent deal they were ready to make it happen.”
Even more positively for Argyle, Jason attracted interest from elsewhere, but made it clear that Devon was his desired destination.
He said: “I had a few options from League 1, I had some from League 2, but I couldn’t turn down, coming back to Plymouth, having worked with the boys already, the gaffer and the coaching staff and the fans.
“I was always looking out on a Saturday and checking the results at the end of the game. It’s different, because, last time round, we were in the bottom two when I came, but now it looks like we are not too far off the play-offs. Hopefully, with myself and the boys already here, we can push on.
“My aim is to play as much as possible; that’s why I left Palace on a permanent basis – to go somewhere and play regular football. With my ability and the team around me, I know we are going to have good squad and I am going to play as much football as I possible.
“John tried to get me through the summer, but I felt like I had to push on with myself in League 1. When I did get the chance, I did play well, but going in to a team like MK Dons, where the manager likes to rotate, I had my ups and down. I enjoyed my time at MK, but I felt I couldn’t turn down a permanent deal.
“I turned down everyone to come to Plymouth.”